Digital Production Buzz
September 17, 2015
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
Randi Altman, Industry Analyst and Editor, postPerspective
Carlos Grijalva, Director/Producer, Grijalva Films
Rob Tharp, Producer/Cinematographer, Grijalva Films
Philip Hodgetts, President, Lumberjack System
Kim Furst, Producer / Director, Kilo Foxtrot Films
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, drones are causing airspace issues across the US, with more than 70 near misses reported to the FAA since August 1st. Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp co-founded Grijalva Films to specialize in drone cinematography. Tonight, we talk with them about the challenges of flying and filming with drones.
Larry Jordan: Next, Philip Hodgetts just returned from IBC, where he attended two peripheral events – the Supermeet and FCP Expo. He shares his thoughts on those events plus IBC itself tonight.
Larry Jordan: Kim Furst is an award-winning documentary film producer, a director and an editor. Her fifth aviation documentary is Flying the Feathered Edge, which is currently in theatrical release as an independent film. Tonight, we talk with Kim about her plans for marketing and distributing the film.
Larry Jordan: All this plus Tech Talk, a Buzz Flashback and Randi Altman’s perspective on the news. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Tonight’s Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by Xen Data, at xendata.com.
Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking… Authoritative…one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals… Current…uniting industry experts… Production…filmmakers… Post production…and content creators around the planet. Distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for creative content producers covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. My name is Larry Jordan. Mike Horton has the night off as he recovers from IBC.
Larry Jordan: Thinking of the 2015 IBC show in Amsterdam, we have two reports tonight – the first from Randi Altman and the second from Philip Hodgetts. IBC, which began years ago as a broadcasting conference, was huge this year – 55,000 attendees, 1800 vendors and hundreds of conference sessions. IBC, like NAB in Las Vegas, documents the rapidly shifting trends in the broadcast and media industry. As Michael Crimp, the CEO of IBC, said, “We have gone from an industry where broadcasters told us what we were going to watch to one where consumers call for content wherever and whenever they want.”
Larry Jordan: What struck me in reading the reports – and you’ll hear Randi talk about this as well – is that IBC is expanding its role, foreshadowing the future, not simply celebrating the latest product releases. As Fran Unsworth, the Director of the BBC World Service, said, “The future is digital and we need to expand on it, but not at the expense of television and radio.”
Larry Jordan: I don’t think anyone in our industry would deny that media today and in the future is digital, but there is a lot of disagreement on who the winners and losers will be as we evolve into this still murky and rapidly changing digital world. The swirling winds of technology are blowing faster than ever. IBC proved that and any pundit who says they can accurately predict the technology trends that will be successful is blowing smoke.
Larry Jordan: For example, you only need to look at tonight’s Buzz Flashback, which highlights the big new thing of five years ago – stereoscopic 3D. Our job here on The Buzz is to help you sort it all out every week. I’ll be back with Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp talking about drones and cinematography right after Randi Altman gives her perspective on the news.
Announcer #1: This is Randi Altman’s Perspective.
Larry Jordan: Randi Altman is the Editor in Chief of postperspective.com. She’s been covering our industry for more than 20 years. She also just returned from Amsterdam, where she was attending the IBC trade show. Hello, Randi, welcome home.
Randi Altman: Hey, Larry, how are you?
Larry Jordan: I am doing great. How was the show?
Randi Altman: It was a whirlwind. It’s a long show and there was a lot to see, but in general it was a good show.
Larry Jordan: That sort of encompasses a lot of territory in about two sentences. What was the big news at the show?
Randi Altman: The buzz words were HDR and UHD. The big deal that’s happening is everybody wants to find displays that they can actually do color grading and watch the content on, but right now with the spec sort of up in the air, a lot of people don’t want to invest in it.
Larry Jordan: UHD, which stands for Ultra HD, is a version of a 4K image; and HDR, which stands for high dynamic range, is a way of getting darker blacks and whiter whites, but nobody right now is supporting this from a software point of view. Adobe announced support but hasn’t released anything and Avid and Apple don’t support it. Is this still a future technology?
Randi Altman: Yes, I think it’s going to happen. Everybody agrees that they want to see a better picture. It’s just getting there.
Larry Jordan: So are these technology demos or are we shipping product? Where do we stand?
Randi Altman: Not really shipping product yet. As I mentioned about the displays, Sony had one at their booth, Canon had one at their booth, but it was all in a back room where they were able to control the light. They really wanted to show it off as best they could, but it’s not a real thing yet out there in the world.
Larry Jordan: So for editors, we need to pay attention but we don’t need to worry about spending dollars on it yet?
Randi Altman: Correct, yes. It’s a wait and see proposition.
Larry Jordan: Ok. What else caught your eye?
Randi Altman: Well, I visited Boris, which bought Imagineer less than a year ago and they’re already starting to put that technology into their Continuum products and software. The big news for them at the show, and I think this is kind of cool for editors, is that they’ve made a Mocha plug-in and that’s going to be available for Avid, Media Composer, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. So instead of where it had a standalone product where there was a workaround, now it’s a plug-in and it’s going to be seamless within those systems.
Larry Jordan: That is an amazing piece of technology. Mocha does some incredible tracking and to put that as a plug-in is huge. That’s big news.
Randi Altman: It is. It’s pretty exciting. They’re going to roll it out, I think Avid’s going to be the first one and then they’re going to follow with the others, but it’s all going to be within the next month to six weeks.
Larry Jordan: Now, I was reading something about what Snell was doing. What are they up to?
Randi Altman: Well, you know about when Snell and Quantel combined as one company and they’ve sort of been sharing technology but operating as two separate companies now for probably a year and a half. They decided to announce that the new company name is Snell Advanced Media, SAM for short, and what they did is the Quantel name still exists but it’s going to be their post production product line.
Larry Jordan: Hmm. You know, Randi, I was reflecting on your answers and traditionally new products were announced at NAB and shipping by IBC, but it sounds like IBC was more of a futures show – this is what’s coming but it’s not yet available. Is that a true statement?
Randi Altman: I would say so. There might be some early adopters that’ll jump in, but for the most part I do think it’s a wait and see type of thing. It just seems to be the prudent way to go.
Larry Jordan: Randi, what are you key takeaways from the show?
Randi Altman: I think that UHD and HDR are not going anywhere, they’re here to stay. We just have to wait and see how it progresses and then we also have to wait and see where we could watch these images. The clear takeaway was we want clearer images, now we just have to find a way to work with them and to view them on displays.
Larry Jordan: Randi, as always, it’s fun talking with you. Good luck catching up on your sleep. Randi is the Editor in Chief of postperspective.com and, Randi, we’ll talk with you next week.
Randi Altman: Thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: To read more from Randi Altman, visit postperspective.com.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp, Philip Hodgetts, Kim Furst, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
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Larry Jordan: Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp are co-founders of Grijalva Films, a San Diego based production house specializing in aerial cinematography and unique camera perspectives using drones. What makes them unique is that they started their production company right out of high school. Hello Carlos, hello Rob, how you doing?
Rob Tharp: Great. How are you doing?
Carlos Grijalva: Hello, how are you doing?
Larry Jordan: Actually, I’m looking forward to talking to you guys, because there’s a lot of stuff about drones that I don’t understand that I need your opinions on. Carlos, I’m going to start with you. Why did you decide to start Grijalva Films?
Carlos Grijalva: When I was in my senior year, I wanted to be a filmmaker and I could either go to LA and be a starting artist for a while or I could start a company and try and make money and then go to LA and have a little money to back me up beforehand.
Larry Jordan: And did you and Rob start it together or did one of you start first and the other came in shortly thereafter?
Carlos Grijalva: I started it first and Rob came after that.
Rob Tharp: Carlos booked a wedding and I ended up joining the team and the synergy between us was pretty amazing and now we’re here.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that I read about is that you guys specialize in doing drone cinematography. Rob, what got you interested in working with drones, besides the fact they fly and they’re small and they go strange places?
Rob Tharp: Apart from that, I find it an amazing tool for a filmmaker, especially when telling a story and to really motivate that story with movement. I found that an interesting concept and both of us have always been huge tech nerds and that was a large contributing factor. With that came amazing cinematic shots with all the technical aspects behind it. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to tell a story through a different medium that people aren’t really used to.
Larry Jordan: Carlos, what projects have you and your team worked on? I know from Rob’s comment you started with a wedding, but it seems like it’s expanded since then. What are you doing?
Carlos Grijalva: Yes, we’ve done a couple of things, feature films. We tend to do the beginning and end sequences for the film – people like aerial a lot for that. We do a lot of weddings, we do commercial work as well, corporate videos.
Rob Tharp: One of our recent projects, we were working with the Port Authority of San Diego actually doing construction surveys. They had some development projects for 2015, so basically with our presentation piece with the aerial, demonstrating what would soon be the construction of the sites, we helped get them funding for the projects. So we’re all over the place.
Larry Jordan: That’s really cool because it’s a way of using videography without creating a feature film which can solve problems that are really hard to solve elsewhere. Are you finding more of your business is coming from filmmakers or from outside the traditional film industry?
Rob Tharp: Most of it’s actually outside the traditional industry. We’ve been working on some interesting projects with construction. That’s been huge.
Carlos Grijalva: And real estate.
Rob Tharp: Real estate, actually, is pretty big as well.
Carlos Grijalva: …It’s very engaging.
Rob Tharp: So those are the two main platforms for aerial, the construction surveys and the real estate, and then also for feature films.
Larry Jordan: With the features, are you doing the entire feature or are people calling you in as the expert in aerial cinematography and you’re just doing the aerial shots, Carlos?
Carlos Grijalva: Just aerial shots.
Rob Tharp: Well, kind of both, actually. We have two projects that we’re actually producing right now. One is called Losing in Love. There are 22 days of shooting and we’re about 18 days in. We’re working with a great writer/director up in Los Angeles, Martin [CARPAZIAN]. He actually has a film on Netflix right now called least among saints. We partnered with him to make this and it’s been a total labor of love in getting the whole thing together, so that’s been a beautiful project; and then another feature that’s in pre-production right now called Len. So there are those two projects and then all of our corporate commercial work, so definitely a lot to keep us busy.
Larry Jordan: Well, what are you flying? Let’s talk gear. Switch to hardware. What are we looking at?
Rob Tharp: Our manufacturer of choice is actually DJI. It’s basically the leading drone manufacturer right now. Really, it’s contingent on the application. Depending on what we’re doing, for instance, let’s say we were doing a wedding. It’s a sensitive event, we want to be respectful. Of course, there are some noise issues and things like that and we don’t want to intrude. With that, we would use the DJI Phantom 3 which was announced a couple of months back. With that, it actually has a proprietary camera on it. It’s integrated, shoots 4K in beautiful, beautiful cinematic quality, so that we’ve been really happy with.
Rob Tharp: It has Lognote as well, so for the colorists out there it’s definitely preferred; and then for other platforms, if it’s something with high speed, there’s the DJI Inspire I, which was released about a year ago. There’s a big update that just came out with the new gimbal, which is basically a three axis gyrostabilized device that, as you fly, counteracts the movements of the drone to allow for a very stable shot.
Rob Tharp: With that, they just released a new gimbal for the Inspire that allows for Micro Four Third, not lenses, so we’re really excited about that. That comes out, I believe, in the next month or two, so we’re on the waiting list. And then going larger, there’s the DJI S1000. That’s with an octocopter and you can fly a RED Epic. A couple of months ago, there was a video with the Phantom Flex 4K. It was the first one flown using the DJI S1000. There’s some amazing technology out there and there are a couple of different manufacturers. There’s 3D Robotics that’s actually here in San Diego and there are new ones springing up every day.
Larry Jordan: How many drones do you actually own? Or do you rent them when you need them?
Rob Tharp: We own three and then, depending if there’s a larger application for an S1000 or something like that, we’ll rent it. But otherwise the Phantom has been a remarkable choice and that’s what we’ve done a lot of our work on.
Larry Jordan: Now that we’ve got the camera mounted to the drone, what video formats do you tend to shoot?
Rob Tharp: As we got started, a lot of it was 1080/60, so we were doing a lot of slow motion, converting it down. Now it’s primarily 4K, 24 frames a second in log mode, so the color’s phenomenal. It’s actually a flat lens, it’s about a 16 millimeter equivalent, so there’s minimal distortion. It’s pretty amazing stuff, what’s currently being integrated.
Larry Jordan: Are you able to see the image while you’re flying the drone or are you just sort of winging it, so to speak?
Carlos Grijalva: No, you’re actually able to see it on an iPhone or an iPad. I think you can connect it to a computer too.
Rob Tharp: Yes, with the Inspire, what’s amazing about that, and the Phantom as well, you can do live streaming straight from the drone to your tablet or mobile device. It’s called an FPV – first person view system – and you can also output via HDMI and broadcast on something as large as the Jumbotron in 1080p. You can’t stream 4K yet, but the 1080 is still remarkable. It’s amazing stuff.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so now let’s shift gears. We’ve got the hardware, we’ve got the software. A client comes to you with a new project. What workflow do you go through to record with a drone? What permits do you need? What permissions do you need to get? What are the rules that you have to follow?
Rob Tharp: Right now, at least in the state of California, the main rule is you have to keep it under 399 feet. As for permitting, there’s currently none. The FAA has legislation under review right now by the Federal Government, so that’s going through its rounds right now. The legislation that’s coming out with the FAA is supposed to be February, but there may be some delays. That actually is pretty straightforward and we’re excited about it. It will allow for a commercial license and an airworthiness certificate for your drone.
Rob Tharp: If it’s under 55 pounds, which most professional platforms are, you’ll be able to move forward with your license as early as 2016. But currently, as long as you stay under 400 feet, you’re clear. In some different states, there’s local legislation that prevents you from flying, like in New York there are some issues right now. There was a Bill up last week that was actually vetoed that was basically going to make it impossible to fly under 350 feet, so with that we wouldn’t be able to actually take off, but that was vetoed, that was knocked out.
Carlos Grijalva: They’re so smart!
Rob Tharp: So we’re still in the clear right now, so until some actual legislation comes forth, planned for 2016, right now people are doing as they please. What’s great about DJI, though, in respect to safety, it’s all through GPS technology. They have a map and with that there’s an airport register, so as you get close to an airport, it’ll prohibit you from taking off and then as you back away, it’ll place a height cap. Once you get out of that radius, you’re fine to fly up to the 399 feet but if you get close to the airport, there are some provisions that you have to abide by.
Larry Jordan: That gets to an interesting question. In the interface that you use to fly the drone, are you able to see your altitude and your position, or do you just have to guess where 400 feet is?
Carlos Grijalva: Altitude, position, speed, ascent speed, descent speed. You can even see yourself on a map so you can click on a little map icon, it comes up and you can see where the drone is and you can see where you are in respect to the drone and it can also tell you how far away you are from the drone.
Rob Tharp: So all the telemetry data is all there.
Larry Jordan: The reason I’m asking is there’s a lot of discussion now about drones interfering with aircraft operations. Since August 1st, there have been 70 complaints of near misses filed with the FAA, none of which are your fault, I want to stress. Also, drones preventing firefighting equipment from doing fire drops because they’re interfering with air operations. Is it a true statement, then, that the drone operator really does know where they are? Or can they plead ignorance, that, “I don’t know where I am and I’m just making a mistake”? How do we prevent amateur drone people from screwing up the entire industry, preventing guys like you from earning a living?
Rob Tharp: What’s unfortunate is we found a lot of the commercial users that actually do it professionally are very, very responsible and then you do see those cases of the typical recreational user, some pleading ignorance. But they have full control over it and it’s really just a matter of common sense to not interfere with law enforcement – there have been some of those cases – and not to interfere with aircraft. With the new updates prohibiting flight near the airports, that’s been a huge advantage, so really a lot of it comes down to common sense but it is unfortunate that the recreational users are inhibiting what commercial users are wanting to do.
Carlos Grijalva: I don’t think that’s really an excuse, either. You know where you are when you’re flying. You know where you are on the map, you know where you are because you can see the city down below and you should be in that line of sight as well – you should be able to see your drone.
Rob Tharp: That’s a huge thing. With the upcoming FAA regulations, you have to be within line of sight of the drone. These drones, you can rig them out, they can go miles depending on your set-up, but the FAA recommends stay within the line of sight and that’s really the safest practice to abide by.
Larry Jordan: I’ve got a live chat going and we’ve got a couple of questions. Cesar is asking whether clients are asking for drone shots because they want them or if they’re trying to pitch using a drone shot to their client. Are you having trouble selling the concept of an aerial shot to your clients?
Carlos Grijalva: They love it.
Rob Tharp: They love it. Whether it’s the client seeking it or they’re just trying to use it as a gimmick, either way people get really excited about it. It’s really cinematic stuff and it’s really useful, especially for surveying purposes, regardless of whatever industry you’re in.
Carlos Grijalva: And it also adds a lot of power to your videos. It just gives it an extra bit of spice, a little bit of seasoning. It’s good.
Larry Jordan: Jeff in the live chat’s saying he has clients who ask him for drone shots, but most are for real estate and some for action sports. For him, it’s a fairly limited environment. It sounds like you’re working within a very limited environment in terms of it’s real estate, surveying or filmmaking, but there’s a lot of interest within those groups. Is that a true statement?
Rob Tharp: Yes, there’s definitely interest within those groups. For instance, with agriculture, with farms, that’s a huge thing as well we’re looking to get into and also for surveying for the power companies. They just got an FAA 333 exemption to actually go out and survey the power lines. It saves time, manpower and it’s innovation.
Larry Jordan: Rob, where can people go on the web to get more information about you and your company and hire you for your services?
Rob Tharp: You are going to want to check out grijalvafilms.com and that’s where you would go to find out more information about us.
Larry Jordan: And Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp are the co-founders of Grijalva Films. Gentlemen, it’s been fun visiting. Thanks so much for your time today.
Rob Tharp: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Philip Hodgetts, Kim Furst, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
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Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts is a wizard when it comes to digital technology and he is currently in Amsterdam, attending the IBC conference as well as a variety of peripheral events. Welcome, Philip, it’s always good to see you.
Philip Hodgetts: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start with IBC. Have you had a chance to tour the show floor at all and what’s caught your attention?
Philip Hodgetts: I did spend some time on the show floor – it’s kind of pointless coming to Amsterdam for IBC and not going onto the show floor – but I didn’t do the whole satellite station and, well, there are a lot of halls that I wasn’t that interested in, but I certainly looked around some of the metadata companies and saw that there isn’t very much new there. I was shopping to see if I could find a small 4K replacement for the GoPro when I was sad to discover that the new Micro Cinema camera from Blackmagic was still only at HD resolution, so probably next year they’ll have the 4K version for me.
Philip Hodgetts: Some of the work that we’re doing now with a cooking show is recorded in restaurants and the audio is suboptimal at times. We go pretty deep with the set-up but we don’t want to bother with wiring mics. I know we should wire the mics, don’t give me the lecture please. I know what I should do, but the interesting concept is knowing what the tools could do for me in post, maybe I be that little bit less intrusive in the restaurant and seize the moment, so I spent some time on the Isotope stand, looking and getting a demonstration particularly of their Dialog Denoise, which is far beyond the parametric equalization that I always try to use to separate out the same frequencies for the background noise, because the background noise is in exactly the same voice frequencies.
Philip Hodgetts: They’ve looked at the dynamics and what they expect dialog to sound and look like so that they can then process everything that is not dialog out of it. The more continuous that background noise is, the better, but they did show some interesting examples that intrigued me and so I’m going to give it a go because we have some examples where it’s just barely possible to pick the dialog above the crowd.
Larry Jordan: Is what Isotope is doing able to remove echoes without materially damaging the principal voice?
Philip Hodgetts: It’s one of their many tools. They certainly do a deverb tool, but they also have a tool that is called Dialog Denoise and that takes background noise out of dialog. The first example is the easy example, of course, of air conditioning noise. …pre-sample and have a clean area, which means that it can vary over time and still be cleaned up. I was particularly interested in that tool. They have a whole range of magic in their toolbox and I’m sure that it will be useful for me as well, but that was the one tool that I was really interested in finding out about.
Larry Jordan: Isotope makes some incredible audio clean-up products. The product is called RX5, or are they showing a new RX6?
Philip Hodgetts: No, they’re showing RX5 and they’re offering a $100 discount that I hopefully will be taking advantage of.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot going on at IBC which is not the show itself, there are a lot of peripheral events. We know that Mike Horton had the Supermeet, but there was also a two day event called FCP Expo going on. Tell me about that.
Philip Hodgetts: This was under the auspices of [SERVO] editors with SEP Works, which is an American based organization, and was a hybrid of presentations at one end of the space and a limited number of demonstration stations at the other end of the space. During the couple of days, we had marketing presentations from Apple, we had some interesting presentations on Frame.io, we had presentations on various workflows, there were some great demos of SliceX, of course, and everything that it can do, both in the Apple demo and in other demonstrations as well. Really, a little bit like going to church in that everyone that was there was in one way or the other already on board with Final Cut Pro 10, but of course part of going to church is to learn how to evangelize, so they were getting the evidence that they needed to go back into the wilds and deliver the good news of Final Cut Pro 10.
Philip Hodgetts: For me personally, the most fascinating was the Metronome presentation. A lot of this has been shown on fcp.co recently, but it was great to get it straight from Ronnie… and the two guys that implemented the Final Cut Pro 10 installation and workflows at Metronome. It’s… how they were big multi-person workflows; all the things that Final Cut Pro supposedly can’t do is what they’re doing on television shows and finding that this is working faster and better for them. And, of course, they want to use Lumberjack so I love them.
Larry Jordan: Well, we must admit that Lumberjack is your product, so I understand the love there.
Philip Hodgetts: Yes, absolutely, yes.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that struck me, Philip, is that you said that Apple was doing presentations at this event. This is a very unusual thing. Apple doesn’t do public presentations. Were they actual Apple people?
Philip Hodgetts: They were actual Apple people. Luke Tristram is one of the product management group at Apple. Yes, they were doing presentations at the FCP Expo, but it isn’t unprecedented. They have done similar things at the FCP Works demo room back at NAB and even at the FCP Works launch there was a presentation by Luke again as part of the launch of that group a couple of years back, so it’s not completely unprecedented but it is still rare enough to be notable.
Larry Jordan: Now, you’ve been involved with the Supermeet for years and years. Does the Supermeet and FCP Expo compete or are they the same thing? How are they different?
Philip Hodgetts: Oh, they’re completely different events. The FCP Expo was simply designed to showcase Final Cut Pro and its ecosystem to people who were interested or, as I mentioned already, largely converted to Final Cut Pro 10. The Supermeet is a gathering of creative people across all sorts of tools. There were people who favor the Adobe suite there, and Adobe were presenting again and Al Mooney was his normal excitable self on stage. They’re very different events and they suit different needs. The only trouble we had was that we were trying to have pop-up banners in the presence of both when they were on at the same time and there were only two of us, so a quick zip onto the public transport and there we were at the other meeting.
Larry Jordan: Is FCP Expo the same size as the Supermeet?
Philip Hodgetts: Oh heck, no, FCP Expo was attracting rolling numbers of people, but never more than about 35 or 40 guests at a time, whereas the Supermeet is three or four hundred, so more than ten times the number of people.
Larry Jordan: Let’s switch back to IBC before I let you go, although these are questions I’d love to spend hours talking with you about, but we’ve talked about Isotope – were there any other highlights for you at IBC?
Philip Hodgetts: The other thing that I was very keen to see at IBC was Dolby Vision. Terry Curran has told me repeatedly that I need to see Dolby Vision to understand the future of HDR television and it is very, very impressive, almost to the extent where I feel that I want to put on a pair of sunglasses to watch television. They measure television brightness in nits, for some reason. I don’t really know why we don’t use lumens, but it’s nits. A typical HD display is about 40 nits, whereas the current Dolby Vision display is 2,000 nits, so it’s about five times brighter on the brightest part, which makes the blackest even blacker. It is so dynamic. A sunrise looks like a sunrise in your face, it’s almost that bright.
Philip Hodgetts: They showed they can go eventually to 10,000 nits. I’m not sure that I want to go that far. But they’ve already starting licensing the technology to some of the television manufacturers, so we may see it. I think HDR television, where we’re getting brighter brights and darker darks, is something that more people will see the benefit of than high resolution because resolution has generally been a perception of sharpness or contrast than it has by actual resolution, so I think it’ll be great to see that.
Larry Jordan: I had a chance to see a demo of Dolby Vision about a year and a half ago and was amazed at the difference between standard HD and HDR HD. However, up until IBC, no video editing software supported HDR – Avid didn’t, Adobe didn’t and Final Cut didn’t – but Adobe at IBC announced support for HDR video in their next update, so we’re going to be able to actually play with it ourselves in video editing in the next month or two.
Philip Hodgetts: Yes, they’ve gave another great suite of announcements concerning enhancements to… Premiere Pro and to the creative cloud.
Larry Jordan: Philip, I could spend the next hour talking about highlights but I know you’ve got things to do back in Amsterdam. Thanks for taking time out of your evening to chat with us and travel safely back to the States.
Philip Hodgetts: Thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: Still to come on The Buzz – Kim Furst, Tech Talk and Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: Hi. I’ve got a ton of brand new training videos showcasing all the new features in Final Cut Pro 10.2, and they’re available today. In fact, we’ve updated our entire Final Cut training just for this release. We added more than 70 new movies covering every major new feature in the software.
Larry Jordan: Then I added new techniques and new ways of working that I’ve discovered and written about in my newsletter over the years. I updated our workflow and editing training with 31 new movies and effects with 41 new movies. This makes our Final Cut Pro 10 training the most comprehensive, most up to date and most affordable way to learn everything about this amazing software. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s complete.
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Larry Jordan: Well, let’s move forward and take a look at another scene. Let’s go to here, let’s just type command A, get rid of this and go to, well, here’s another example – a restaurant scene.
Larry Jordan: Here, I have a wide shot of Andrew on the left, Danielle in the middle and Lisa on the right. I’ve got an iso of Andrew and then I’ve got a camera which is Lisa and Danielle, depending upon who’s talking. This is a multi-cam clip. I don’t have the same audio on each clip. This is just Andrew’s mic, this is just Danielle and Lisa’s mic and this is just a camera picking up everything.
Larry Jordan: What I’ve done instead is where I have a clapper slate – notice the clapper slate – I’ve set a marker, the letter M, at the point the clapper slate comes down on all three clips. This to me is as fast as doing timecode except I don’t have to have timecode fed to the camera, I’m able to use the clapper slate instead. Let’s go up to file, go down to new, go down to multi-cam clip and here we’re going to do this automatically because the clip names will work. I’m going to synchronize not on timecode but on the first marker on each angle – notice there’s only one marker in each clip – and we’ll call this Restaurant Multicam – and click ok.
Larry Jordan: Again, we’ll pick this whole thing up right about where she reaches forward, right about there, we’ll set it in and the whole scene runs about there, we’ll set an out, so I don’t have to take the entire multi-cam clip. Again, think of recording an hour’s musical presentation, you want to do a multi-cam edit of each song. Set an in and an out at the beginning and the end of each song and edit it down to the timeline and we’ve got it, except my wide shot doesn’t have any audio. Andrew’s mic is on Andrew’s mic and Lisa and Danielle’s mic is on, so what do I do?
Larry Jordan: Before you build the multi-cam clip, select the audio of each one of the individual clips, go to the inspector, select the clip, go to the audio tab and make sure that this gets switched from stereo, which is how Final Cut imports it, to dual channel mono. What dual channel mono means is that now I see the entire audio picked up by the camera mic or the wireless mic that Andrew’s wearing. I’m going to turn off the general, keep Andrew by itself – notice that that’s where the women are talking – and then go to Lisa and Danielle, switch that also from stereo to dual channel mono.
Larry Jordan: Make sure to turn off the general camera mic, pick up their wireless mic so we can hear the dialog and before I build the multi-cam clip, I set the audio to be those discrete channels, so I’ve turned off all the background noise behind Andrew and just kept his mic; turned off the background noise behind Danielle and Lisa and just hear their mic and now when I go up to the file menu, multi-cam clip, it’s built the audio into that clip just as we’ve specified in the inspector.
Larry Jordan: We’ll set an in and we’ll set an out, edit it down. I don’t see audio for the wide shot because I’ve turned it off, but the audio is there for the cameras. I’ll illustrate in a second. By the way, to see the audio, double click and I can separate that or expand audio components and I can see all of the tracks of my audio. The big benefit is being able to manipulate our multichannel audio in the inspector. Remember, I’m not doing mixes, I’m just able to hear individual tracks of my audio as I switch to those cameras.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start with a wide shot. We’ll hide the browser and the library. Hide the inspector so I can see what I’ve got to work with and Lisa’s going to reach forward, I’m going to cut to Lisa, then I’m going to cut to Andrew, but I want the audio to follow so I can pick up their individual mics, so I’m going to need to do some additional trimming a little later.
Larry Jordan: Here we go, watch this. I don’t need to hear it. She reaches forward and cut back to her and cut to Andrew, looks over, Danielle talks. Ok, so notice how I’m seeing Lisa’s speech but I’m not seeing Andrew’s speech, so we can still trim this. We can open this up, go to clip, expand audio components and notice that now I’m able to see the different audio that I’ve got. Let’s just zoom in, command plus, grab this clip and drag it over so I can pick up more of her lines.
Larry Jordan: This is where Final Cut has changed audio handling a lot. I can change my audio trimming here by going in and being able to manipulate all the different audio tracks that I work with without having to mess with my edit. This makes working with multichannel audio a lot easier. All I did is I set this up as dual channel mono in the inspector first, then I did my edit, then I exposed the audio clips by going to expand audio components and, when I’m done, I just say collapse audio components and everything is back.
Larry Jordan: Kim Furst is an award-winning documentary film producer; she’s also a director and an editor. Flying the Feathered Edge is Kim’s fifth aviation documentary and it’s screening in theaters today. Hello, Kim, welcome back.
Kim Furst: Hi, Larry. It’s great to see you.
Larry Jordan: Well, you know, I was just thinking, this is the first time that we’ve seen each other, but it’s not the first time that we’ve talked because we first met you and learned about Flying the Feathered Edge in June of 2014 – I looked it up. So as a recap for people who may not have been paying attention to our June 2014 show, what is the film about?
Kim Furst: Flying the Feathered Edge is about a Bob Hoover. He’s considered to be our greatest living aviator. He’s 93 years old and he’s been a test pilot, experimental test pilot, air show pilot, World War II prisoner of war. He’s considered by many pilots to be the pilots’ pilot. He’s someone that they all look up to.
Larry Jordan: How did you ever connect with him?
Kim Furst: This is actually my fifth aviation and aerospace documentary that I’ve done as a film editor. This was my first as producer/director and I was looking for something that was in my wheelhouse, something I knew and understood and I love aviation and I’ve worked on many other aviation films, so I was looking for something that I could really sink my teeth into, and that’s how I found Bob’s story.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but there’s got to be more to it than that. You’re not 94, you haven’t been in aviation for as long as he has. How did you track him down?
Kim Furst: Well, that was fortunate. I had a friend make an introduction and he knew I was looking, he knew I was searching for a topic within aviation and that I was looking for a story and he said, “Kim, let me introduce you to somebody,” and so he invited me into a very coveted Bob Hoover dinner. There were nine or ten very accomplished pilots and myself and I got to be a fly on the wall and listened to Bob’s stories and by the end of that night, I was pretty certain I had a great story.
Larry Jordan: That is so cool. Well, when we talked a year and a half ago, you were in production and post and now you’re in an entirely different position – you’re screening the film. Tell me what’s happening now.
Kim Furst: We’re in a really neat position because the film’s done and now we have chosen to self distribute the film, which is a choice and we think we made the right choice with that. We released on DVD and Blu-Ray last holiday season and we had a diehard bunch of followers by that point. We probably had about five or six thousand people who had been following our progress over the three years it took to make the film.
Kim Furst: By the time we were ready to release, we needed some finishing funds. We actually were in a position where we had a couple of music to pay for, we had our errors and omissions insurance, there were certain hard costs and deferred costs for people who had done stuff, we’d pay them later, and so I was looking as a producer at a couple of offers for distribution that, frankly, for documentaries were solid but there was no upfront, there was no promise of anything and so I borrowed $5,000 and we printed a whole bunch of DVDs, I put them up for sale and we made all the rest of the money we needed for the film and I kind of had one thing going while the other was going and things crossed at the right time.
Kim Furst: We haven’t paid everyone back yet but I’ve got so much to say about this, I’ll just say it in a nutshell – where we are now is we’re selling the DVD, we’ve played all over the country at major aviation events, we’ve done screenings in IMAX theaters like the National Museum of the US Air Force, we’ve played big outdoor amphitheaters like Oshkosh – we had 7,000 people at one screening in the World’s Greatest Fly-In.
Kim Furst: We signed up with a company called Tug, so we’re playing at AMC theaters across the country on a one off basis, which is exciting, and I can tell you more about that later; and we just signed an agreement with an aggregator who’s going to get us on iTunes and we’re going to sign the paperwork so that before this holiday season we’ll be up on Amazon. But so far we’ve been selling off our own website and we’ve just been getting tons of press, we’ve had tons of positive press, lots of quotes from really important film industry as well as aviation industry people, we’ve got a nice thick press book.
Larry Jordan: Kim, I don’t know how to break it to you, but you had 7,000 people watching in Oshkosh. Why aren’t you rich?
Kim Furst: Well, that was free, nobody paid for that one, we gave that one away. Oshkosh is kind of our spiritual home as aviators, so we wanted to give that to the people who were there and it helped spread the word. Ok, that’s 7,000 people who may never buy the DVD, or they may. It’s a film that a lot of people have said they want to go back and watch again because it’s so dense with history and great footage and so there are a lot of people who saw it who may buy it for gifts for people for Christmas and holidays.
Larry Jordan: All right, but put your producer hat back on. I have no doubt that the film is spectacular because you do good work. But you also need to make your money back and pay all your people. You’ve been getting really good coverage, you’ve been getting good press and you still haven’t hit breakeven, so from wearing your producer hat, what keeps you from slashing your wrists? Where’s the money going to come from?
Kim Furst: This is some solid respect I have for distributors because, as a filmmaker, you’re like, “They want to take out all these marketing costs and, gosh, I’m not going to get my money back right away and how do I know where all that’s accounted for?” and if you decide to go independent distribution, roll up your sleeves because you’ve got to be ready to do a lot of hard work, unless you’re going to just let it sit and languish and you’re not really going to distribute it. The thing I’d say is that, yes, we give it away sometimes, we give it away where it’s important to give it away and we want people to know about it.
Kim Furst: For example, Oshkosh gave us a lot of collateral marketing in support in exchange for that, so we look at that. We look at, well, over the course of that week we sold about 450 DVDs and that was all through the EAA, the Oshkosh store. We had a forum, so I was giving forums and Bob always gives forums and we had authors’ corners, so there were a lot of things that we do to show up, to talk about the film and get people aware of it. That’s kind of the cost of awareness. I’ve learned a lot about distribution.
Kim Furst: Tonight, I’m going through forum language translations myself. I’ve sent them to a company to translate but, guess what, when you do your foreign language international version, if you’re the one doing it like a distributor, they have a department for that. But if you’re doing it yourself, you’re not a filmmaker for a little while, you’re a distributor and it’s fun. It’s fun, we know our audience, we love our audience, we feel protective of them, we know where they live, we want to bring this product to them but there are a lot of things that I’ve ended up doing that allow you to see why all these marketing costs come out and it takes a little while, you have to invest back.
Kim Furst: As you’ve made the film, now you don’t just go, “Great, now I’m just going to go make a ton of money out of it.” You have to advertise, you have to get the word out, you have to travel to places, travel to film festivals. Every film festival we do, we get great reviews and they go in our press book and we can publicize those to our fans, but they take money. You have to go and you have to fly there and you have to be there for their forums and talk and it takes work. I used an analogy the other day – I’m in the business right now of creating smoke. This is where we’re at, this is how it’s going and you just have to keep putting the film out there. We had the advantage because we don’t have tons of marketing dollars – as a matter of fact, we have very few – but what we can create is a longer slow burn and you have to stay at it and keep putting yourself out there to your audience.
Larry Jordan: So it’s now a year and a half, two years after this film was done. You’ve completed your sixth film without jumping in front of large moving trucks. Would you hire a distributor for the sixth film?
Kim Furst: We would have hired a distributor on this one if we’d found the right partnership and we didn’t, so in a heartbeat, yes, I would go with a distributor. I would happily give a large chunk of whatever we make to somebody who’s a professional to do it right, and that’s mostly because I’m a filmmaker and I’d like to be making films and when you decide to do this, just know you’re going to be being a distributor for at least a year, in my opinion. This is my opinion but this is what I’ve experienced and I work hard every day distributing this film.
Kim Furst: We’re very excited, though, because Tug – if I can talk about that for a second – is a tremendous tool for independent filmmakers to get their films distributed in movie theaters. What we found was, even though we’ve probably sold about 8,000 DVDs at this point and, in seven or eight months, that’s nothing to sneeze at. We released, I think, right before Christmas so I guess eight, nine months. We’ve had a lot of demands for people seeing it in movie theaters. People still equate, “That’s a big movie, wow, I see it at the AMC. I want to get all my friends together and go see that together in a group,” especially with pilots and aviators. It’s fun, it’s one of those talk back to the screen movies, it’s just fun to watch in a movie theater.
Kim Furst: Tug allows you to contact your local AMC, wherever you live – you can type in your zip code, find out what movie theater near you will screen any film which is associated with Tug, in our case Flying the Feathered Edge, and you can go to the theater, buy your ticket, encourage all your friends to buy their tickets and then you have a bona fide screening. We sold our first one in San Diego a couple of weeks ago.
Larry Jordan: Let’s talk about that for a second. You’ve released on DVD, so you’re getting some income back. But if I remember correctly, you’re also screening in New York. Are you thinking of screening in LA and qualifying for an Oscar?
Kim Furst: I have made the decision that I’m not going to go for that and one of the reasons is there are more hoops to jump through than just that and it’s a financial consideration. If I really felt we had a hardcore shot at an Academy Award, I’d do it in a heartbeat because obviously that’s what every filmmaker wants. But I wouldn’t waste my money on trying to qualify; it just would be such a long shot. That’s not denigrating my film at all, it’s a wonderful, poetic, gorgeous film with Harrison Ford. It’s beautiful, it’s got… and it’s a gorgeous little film, but what we would have to do, we’d have to book out a theater for a week in New York, a week in LA.
Kim Furst: We’d have to buy advertising space – I believe it’s the LA Times and the New York Times – and it has to be a certain size and it has to run for a certain amount of time. There are actually companies that do this for you. You can have a company do your qualification. At the end of the day, we don’t have the money to do a big campaign. We’re staying in our lane and we want to reach our fans and the people who are going to really love this film. We’re not going to try to convince everyone.
Larry Jordan: It sounds spectacular. When are you going to get out of producing and go back into directing again?
Kim Furst: As soon as I get my investors paid back. Seriously, I think about it at night. I stay up and I’m like, “I’ve got to get my investors paid back,” and that’s what motivates me, truly. It’s what keeps me hitting it hard every day, because it matters for your next film. It just matters on a personal level with the people who have trusted you. We didn’t raise a tremendous amount of money, but what we did raise, I feel like my job is done when I get them paid back plus a dollar and then I can go, “Ok, great, now I’m going to move on to what I’m doing next.” I’ve still got my teeth sunk in this one.
Larry Jordan: For people who want to help you pay off your investors, where can they go on the web to learn more about you and the movie?
Kim Furst: That is an excellent question. Please go, to see an incredible aviation documentary – you’ll never look at an airplane the same way again – thebobhooverproject.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s the bobhooverproject.com and Kim Furst is the producer and the director. Kim, thanks for joining us today. We’ll keep in touch. Thanks. Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Unknown male (archive): So obviously, with all of our cards, you get a software there, which is Media Express. Media Express is a free piece of software that enables you to capture and play back video. The great thing with the Decklink HD Extreme card is it enables you to capture that 3D footage into Media Express and then combine two signals, so maybe your left and your right, into one single 3D output.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: I’ve enjoyed following Kim as she’s put this film together because she’s shared more information with us than most producers do in terms of how she is putting the whole package together. It’s not just about making the film, which is fun, or writing the film or editing the film, which is all a piece of it.
Larry Jordan: But then at the end, you’ve got to make money on the film so you can afford the next film and I’ve been fascinated with the work that’s involved, as Kim has explained it to us, in terms of how she has funded the film and now how she’s earning the money back. I also understand that she’s been so aggressive in recruiting audience members that her web fans are buying the DVDs, which is giving her the money that she needs to be able to finish the film and to release it theatrically, as well as develop other avenues. It’s an interesting conversation. We’ll have Kim back a little later and see how the whole film resolves itself.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests – Carlos Grijalva and Rob Tharp, who are the co-founders of Grijalva Films; Philip Hodgetts, the CEO of Intelligent Assistance and Lumberjack System; and Kim Furst, documentary filmmaker of Flying the Feathered Edge.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. You’ll find thousands of interviews all available to you at a moment’s notice.
Larry Jordan: Visit with us on Twitter, @dpbuzz, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner, with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Cirina Catania; our engineering team is led by Meagan Paulos and includes Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, Hannah Dean, James Miller and Brianna Murphy. My name is Larry Jordan. Mike Horton is off today but he will be back and he’s with us tonight in spirit and both of us say thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.
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